Dreams Really Do Come True

Written by James J. Elizondo
Father of Boys & Girls Clubs member James and Alumni of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio, Calderon Branch


I grew up on the Westside of San Antonio, Texas, an area known to have an overabundance of crime, gangs, and shootings. In the early 1980’s, at the age of 11, my parents signed me up to attend Boys Club of Calderon Branch. Every morning I was dropped off at 7 a.m. and stayed until the Club closed each night, keeping me away from trouble and offering me a second home and safe haven. I had a blast being involved in activities and playing football, baseball, and basketball. 

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What started out as meeting one kid, turned into a building an entire team.  There was Hector, Manuel, Jerry, Anthony, Oscar, Erick and Tony. Our friendship developed into a fraternity, a bond between kids who would one day become men. Three decades later, the faces and names of my counselors are still fresh in my memory, and my childhood friends are now my lifelong friends. Today we are all grown men, living good lives, being the best parents we can possibly be.  Among us our professions consist of law enforcement, marketing, construction, sales, coaching, military and medical and yes, parenting. Now, it’s our kids’ turn, to attend the Clubs and build the foundation for their solid future.


The Club has had an obvious, positive impact on my life. Now, I want my son to have the same experiences at Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove. The Club allows him to interact with adults and peers, explore ideas, envision inventions, and absorb a wealth of information. At only 4 years old, he already knows he wants to become a “doctor who studies flies on the moon.” The Club is inspiring his dreams and improving his communication skills. In fact, he is the most persuasive person I know. 


One particular day he sternly told me, “Listen to my words. I want you to introduce me to Barack Obama.” In response to his request, I told him to write the President a letter. A few days later, he wrote one. So, with great honor on behalf of my son, I drafted a formal letter to the President.


 A few weeks later, James received his wish. The President of the United States introduced himself in a letter and signed photograph.














Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. In fact, it is I who should thank your organization for the skills and traits that I learned as a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs.  My story is what it is. I just want to share it in hopes of inspiring someone else.

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